Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Trevor Turner, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Barbara Hill, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Sheila Gregory, Ed.D.


The purpose of this study was to investigate factors that motivate third grade students to perform well academically and to learn how those factors impact student achievement. Additionally, the researcher wanted to gain an understanding of teachers’ perspectives regarding student motivation, observe strategies teachers use to motivate students, and observe motivated students’ behaviors. To do this, the researcher surveyed 37 third grade students, interviewed two third grade teachers, and observed two different third grade teachers. The results of the study indicated that student academic motivation is significantly impacted by two factors: parent involvement and home environment. The results also showed that reading achievement is closely linked to school environment. Having this information is helpful because it will enable school administrators and teachers to develop strategies to target the factors that have been found to have the most significant impact on student academic motivation.

The qualitative research indicated that teachers tend to rely on extrinsic rewards and use strategies such as verbal praise, visual aids, and touch to motivate students. The behaviors that motivated students display include paying attention to the lesson, working diligently, and asking questions. If schools combine the strategies used by teachers and focus on increasing parental involvement, helping parents to create home environments that foster academic success, and making sure the school environment enables students to feel safe, it is likely that administrators would see increases in student academic motivation across the district.